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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 6:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

I know it's a big old cliche to say this but a good song or poem is as much holding up a mirror to the listener/reader as it is opening a window on to the writer. Interpretation is probably more revealing of the mind and experiences of the interpreter than it is those of the writer. I find the cocaine interpretation to be tin-eared, puerile and poetically totally unsatisfying.

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about? - Mr. Charlie told me so

"puerile and poetically totally unsatisfying" Absolutely agree, especially in this case, where Hunter (for once) has given us a very specific explanation of his words and the thought process behind them.

I've heard that in iron-making, like creating a bell, the hot metal, while cooling, beads up with a sweat, and the maker "rolls" this off the metal. Just another possible source for the expression, and we know Hunter collects little tidbits like this....

Now if we want to talk drug references, the most blatant GD example is of course, Mr. Charlie. Definitely a straight-up heroin song. Or Sweet Jane, who lost her sparkle...

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 3, 2011 9:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about? - Mr. Charlie told me so

how about china cat? i have fond memories of tripping to china cat and visualizing the lyrics.

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Nov 3, 2011 10:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you choose to believe Franklin's Tower is about? - Mr. Charlie told me so

Definitely. Drug references aplenty... like TOO:

Escaping through the lily fields, I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded, left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to never ever land

edit: BTW, the answer to your original question:

Picky people choose Jif.

This post was modified by unclejohn52 on 2011-11-03 17:48:29

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Ah, a voice of reason...I was pulling my hair out with this one.

Thanks.

Of course, every song can have a multitude of meanings; and Hunter plays that game at times (I think too much, frankly), but when saying "I know it's a song about drugs..." when the author told us very plainly what was going on, is just...baffling.

I suppose if you didn't grow up in the early 70s, you didn't know how huge it was, even for the anti-establishment sorts...USBlues is another, of course, and it was not all snide mockery, etc., etc. We all got caught up in the stuff leading to 1976.

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Poster: dire Date: Mar 18, 2012 2:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

the thread is boring partly for it's intensity. (and it's passive aggressive initiation.
If, or not, Franklin's Tower were a cocaine song, which in the eighties we laughed merrily about.. if/when one isn't a using user, that's not what the song makes one think about, probably. But it can.

I've Been Working on the Railroad is also a cocaine song, in which the protagonist tries to trade drugs for oral sex but ends up settling for a hand job. I can "prove" it.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Why? He made the case that many of the terms have quite specific drug-related meanings. Why is that tin-eared and puerile?

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

It's tin eared because of all the multitude of interpretations you could shoehorn into these words dismissing it as a 'drug song' does a monumental disservice to Hunter's poetic integrity. Do you truly believe that he would painstakingly - and I don't doubt that he took great pains to get it right - craft these richly allusive words with the intention of producing a hymn to shoving a banknote up your nose? That really is a trivial, and yes, puerile, interpretation.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

I guess it depends on your feelings about drugs. I never snorted cocaine, and it seems to me people don't generally have the same kinds of warm fuzzy feelings about cocaine that one hears (here and other places) about a wide variety of drug experiences, mainly psychedelics - life changing, mind expanding, "you can't understand the music without it" etc. Your mileage or my mileage may vary but lots of people apparently feel this way. I wouldn't really know if people feel that way about cocaine; it surprised me a bit to hear it, but I was not there. Perhaps it is a coincidence if some of the imagery coincides with cocaine-talk but it doesn't seem like a crazy suggestion to me. If you feel that trivializes the song it seems to me you are mainly telling us how you feel about cocaine use.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Respectfully I'm not telling you a single thing about my opinions on cocaine use. What I am making clear, I hope, are my opinions on lazy, second-rate literary interpretation that would rather slap on a cheap surface veneer than work to bring out the rich grain of meanings running through the piece.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Yeah, saying it's cheap, puerile etc. because it's about drugs tells us mainly your feelings about drugs. Not every lyric Robert Hunter penned was deep and profound. We can trash all the performers any way we like, right, and declare entire decades of performances unlistenable? But we're supposed to think every lyric was practically Shakespearean? I have no idea if deniro is right or if he has no idea what he is talking about. At least WT gives us some facts to consider, rather than just bullying about telling people their "literary interpretations" are second rate. No one was trying to do "literary interpretation." It's a Grateful Dead forum.

It is far from crazy to suggest there might be drug references in Grateful Dead lyrics. Hello!!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Oh, I got that...but in this particular instance, there are the facts of the times in which he wrote it (birth, nation), and HIS explanation; then, there are the myths, (I say that with great confidence having done 'it' many, times, with many in the music biz, backstage, etc., in the early 70/mid 70s) which are used to support an alt explanation. It seems entirely unnecessary.

On coke, trust that like others of its ilk, in terms of the euphoric state induced when pure, well, I am afraid only morphine and heroin best it, but they have the sleep inducing components, whereas coke does not, and prior to the degradation of the street form, in the late 70s, it was hard to beat if you wanted to "play", or "party". The others were more for inward, downtime experiences (per Jerry later in his life).

All, of course, has serious addiction properties, but hey, even Sherlock knew a 7% solution might just do the trick, eh?

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

nothing better than pharmaceutical grade blow. sorry - flame away.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 3, 2011 11:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Nothing from this corner.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

It is interesting that the media has now decided that even crack cocaine was not so utterly evil as they made it out to be in the 1980's.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Well hello to you too.

Are you suggesting I park my brain at the door because the sign says 'Grateful Dead forum'? Tell me, where did I suggest that drug references were absent from Grateful Dead lyrics or that Hunter's every utterance was an exercise in profundity? We are not talking about 'every lyric' - we're talking about one specific lyric, and one of Hunter's better ones, that I believe deserves better than a comically naive 'drug' interpretation that doesn't hold water factually (Tell) or artistically (me).

You know as much about my thoughts on drug use now as you did before this discussion started - which is exactly nothing.



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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Thanks for continuing to argue this point ring. You've perfectly stated many of my thoughts when reading replies to this theory. Im sorry I don't have the patience to discuss this topic any further. It's too bad there are so many close-minded people around here. It seems like people thought I was saying, "this is what the song is about," when I was merely suggesting one interpretation.

This post was modified by rdenirojb87 on 2011-11-03 15:44:24

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

I'm not really arguing your point, WT has pretty well convinced me it probably wasn't about cocaine. I just didn't see why there had to be such contempt and loathing for an innocuous suggestion. "Literary" and "drugs" are not distant relatives.

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

"WT has pretty well convinced me it probably wasn't about cocaine."

I've always been convinced, but the cocaine theory is an interesting one to explore, which is why i wanted to discuss it. robert hunter was very familiar with the drug scene. he surely realized the coke implications he was making as writing this. no way that would go over his head, and because he chose the words he did, it is not crazy at all to suggest this theory. ok i'm finally done here. i think this topic has been discussed enough for now.

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Poster: SpacedAgain Date: Nov 5, 2011 7:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

If it were about drugs it would likely be about the main one. You could consider dancing as away to purify one from toxins by sweating while rock & rolling. If you were cold to people at shows, you'd be blown away one way or another.

More generally Franklin's Tower seems to be about every person's journey in this life. We're all in Exodus, and maybe looking for inspiration or manna from heaven so we don't get caught up in Babylon.

God save the child, hmmm. I'm not sure if there was one good ring in the Liberty Bell. Anyone know?

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

For one, NO musical sorts used $100 bills in the 70s in the Bay Area; this is PURE myth. It was far too dirty, collected bits of the important material, etc., etc., etc. Plus, Hunter did not carry them, nor did members of the DEAD. I bet my life on that...I will not admit to doing this 1000s of times, but trust, yes, it was something along the lines of that figure, with people of all economic backgrds, and other little devices were used for very obvious reasons...this is an urban myth.

Folks only used money, and any would do, when they had to...

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Thanks. Makes sense. I did wonder why a hundred dollar bill, I mean, we're talking about hippies.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Think for ONE second; what is the most commonly available, cheaply available, FREE item, that can be found in ANY vehicle, ANY home, at the dawn of the fast food era?

A straw.

No more need be said.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

So Jack Straw is a drug song?!!

A ha!!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Well played!

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Sure. I can't imagine why a person would waste a perfectly good hundred dollar bill that way. I assumed it was a status thing.

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 3, 2011 9:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

"I can't imagine why a person would waste a perfectly good hundred dollar bill that way."

lol who said it gets wasted? 90% of all bills in the u.s. have traces of cocaine on them.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Nov 3, 2011 10:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Oh, come now, that is a bogus statistic :)

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Nov 3, 2011 10:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

http://healthland.time.com/2009/08/16/nearly-90-of-u-s-money-has-traces-of-cocaine/

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Nov 3, 2011 10:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Good grief ...

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 3, 2011 10:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

yup, america loves drugs far more than any other country. the statistics on our drug use compared to other countries is astounding.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 3, 2011 11:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This is what you said:

OK, as you say last comments, right?

First, $100 bills are in the minority (read the study).

Second, big change in rate of contamination from early 70s to "now" (see study and others).

Last, and most important, when I "reacted" it was to your comment above that "...Vapors, no offense, but it is naive to think hunter did not have that as one of his intended meanings. Maybe your just not familiar with that scene and the lingo, so you don't recognize that as one of the possible meanings. But I guarantee you hunter wanted some people to interpret as a song about cocaine. Don't kid yourself."

This is not saying "one interpretation"; this is YOU saying "Hunter intended it..."

We now agree that's not true, right? I rest my case, whether you want to go along with it or not, but you've waffled from "he meant it this way" to "I interpret it..." and I was always only arguing with the former, not the latter.

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 3, 2011 11:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This is what you said:

gotcha. i should have stated myself better. this thread is making me jaded. last comment indeed. peace wt.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 12:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10390086

So you can fuck right off, yankee boy!

funny-scot.jpg

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 3, 2011 12:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

i guess you scots like your blow. however the united states is still, by a huge margin, the single largest consumer of drugs anywhere in the world. i believe most of europe has a fairly low % of cannabis users.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 12:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

Actually the statistics show that 96.3 percent of Scots couldn't give a (blow) monkeys.

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Poster: bran ddu Date: Nov 3, 2011 2:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

We are doing our best...

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 2:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

Ydych chi wedi ymweld รข'm gwlad i?

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Poster: bran ddu Date: Nov 3, 2011 3:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

Mi ges I fy ngeni yng nghymru.

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Poster: DeadRed1971 Date: Nov 3, 2011 3:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

Don't talk with your mouth full.

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Poster: bran ddu Date: Nov 3, 2011 3:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

Mi ges I fy ngeni yng nghymru.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 4:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

Definitely not Scots then. :-)

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Nov 3, 2011 12:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

Congrats. Guess I'll have to rewatch Trainspotting... It made drug use look so glamorous:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJrWlHRT-18&;feature=related

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 3, 2011 12:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What you choose to believe is bollocks

" It made drug use look so glamorous:"
compared to some other shit i've seen, it makes it look very glamourous, mainly for the reason that that the main character walks away at the end almost totally unscathed, which almost never happens in that dark world. also, the scene where he shoots up, and sinks into the carpet as lou reed's "perfect day" starts playing. trainspotting doesn't paint heroin out to be nearly as bad as it is.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Nov 3, 2011 11:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

as are our rates of incarceration.

Nod to Grandmaster Flash - wonder what they meant?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmIN9ulmy-E

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Nov 3, 2011 7:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

Well done, WT. I was coming at it purely from a literary perspective but you've nicely illustrated the folly of a hypothesis that doesn't properly reference the facts.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 3, 2011 8:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What do you chose to believe Franklin's Tower is about?

And on the literary front, I trust that Hunter is being honest, and not deceitful, in acknowledging emotions that went along with birth, our Nation, blah, blah, blah...this is part of his entire "Americana canon" if you will.

Folks too often think of the DEAD as completely off the grid, anti-establishment sorts, but at the time, there was still a lot of "we just want to do 'this' better" than our parents, and it's still a great Nation" blah, blah, blah.

So, I see no problem with his ditties on this theme....

This post was modified by William Tell on 2011-11-03 15:07:42

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